David Bywater, Head of SME Tax at KPMG explains that the measures announced today go some way to meeting the SME agenda as George Osborne sent out a positive statement of intent to support SMEs.
According to a recent KPMG/YouGov survey of 1400 UK SMEs, the top three wishes that they wanted from the next Government were reducing red tape (36%), lowering business rates for small businesses (31%) and more tax incentives/reliefs for SMEs.
David Bywater, Head of SME Tax at KPMG comments on whether announcements in the Autumn Statement today are good news for SMEs:
"The measures announced today go some way to meeting the SME agenda as George Osborne sent out a positive statement of intent to support small and medium sized businesses, recognising the importance of this sector to the continuing growth of the UK economy.
"The direction of travel of the measures announced today were consistent with policy changes over the past few years, signalling further support for SME businesses to continue to invest, innovate, employ and train more people, and export high tech products across the globe.
"Our data found that 36% of SMEs surveyed spent the majority of their time focussed on winning new business and on growth and George Osborne today announced a raft of measures which should give SMEs the confidence to drive forward their growth agenda.
"The necessary investment for growth should be helped by the provision of another £900m of cash through the British Business Bank, albeit it can be difficult for small businesses in particular to navigate their way through the many different sources of Government backed funding.
"For the high tech manufacturers, who have contributed more than their fair share towards the growth of the UK economy, and in part explain why the UK has jumped from 14th to 2nd in the Global Innovation Index, several measures will combine to give these businesses extra support. The small increase in the level of R&D tax credits, National Insurance discounts to businesses taking on apprentices, and additional support to those wishing to embark on the often difficult journey into overseas markets, are all measures that improve the landscape for those organisations looking to innovate and commercialise their products.
"Small retail and hospitality businesses will benefit by the increased discount against business rates, and small business more widely will welcome the extension and doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief, along with the general proposals to reform the business rates regime, which we hope we will not be waiting years for. For the house builders focussed outside of the prime market, the filet was the reform to stamp duty, which will reduce the stamp duty cost on house purchases for 98% of buyers, hopefully helping to stimulate demand.
"Overall we would welcome the measures announced today. The challenge for SMEs though will be the difficulty that they can often find in accessing the benefits of the reliefs and support available to them", he concluded.
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Emma Murray, KPMG Corporate Communications
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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.